During his campaign Donald Trump has consistently set the bar high with his natural flair for generating outrage, but the Republican presidential nominee surpassed all his previous self-inflicted scandals after apparently suggesting that shooting his rival Hillary Clinton maybe the only way to stop her seeking controls on firearms.
In an unprecedented move, the United States Secret Service has responded to the presidential hopeful’s words.
Through its official Twitter account, the service tweeted: “The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.”
The brouhaha erupted after Mr Trump spoke about gun control and the next president’s power to appoint Supreme Court justices at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina,
To a torrent of boos from the audience, Mr Trump said: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the second amendment.”
He then added: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
After the incident, Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and National Security Agency told CNN: “Well, let me say, if someone had have said that outside the hall he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the secret service questioning him.”
Speaking about Trump’s presidential bid, he added: “You get to a certain point in this business and you’re not just responsible for what you say, you are responsible for what people hear.”
Mr Trump’s campaign quickly sought to defuse the situation, arguing he was calling for supporters of the second amendment to rally around him.
“It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Jason Miller, the campaign’s senior communications adviser said in a statement.
In an interview after the incident, Fox News’s Sean Hannity asked Mr Trump: “You know, so obviously you’re saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court. But that’s not how the media is spinning it. What’s your reaction to it?”
Trump replied: “Well, I just heard about that, and it was amazing because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment… there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me – I mean give me a break.”
The National Rifle Association’s spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the outrage over Mr Trump’s comments were a “distraction created by the dishonest media.”
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